There’s nothing like being snuggled next to mama when she’s doing all the things.
Except when baby is looking for some sensory input and driving around looking for a good time means that one of you (or both of you, if you’re pulled over) ends up snoozing as a result of the motion. Yes, as much as we wear (and love wearing) our babies, sometimes they want to have that consistent, gentle vibration and bouncing to soothe the savage beast inside. That’s why we’ve asked mamas what their favorite and best rockers and bouncers were. We’ve found the coziest and the best hacks, and we think baby will agree!
I wore my little guy all over the place. I loved how he snuggled into me, and how I could feel his little body just melt into mine as we went about our day-to-day.
But I’d be lying if I said that he didn’t love his little bouncer too. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I felt like a failure because I thought all he needed was to be near me.
Turns out that while he did (and all our babies do), some crave a little sensory input that bouncers and rockers can give in a way that mamas don’t necessarily do as well. I couldn’t believe that some cheap-o little vibrating bouncer a friend passed down to us turned out to be his number one place to sleep. Let me tell you though– it’s a heck of a lot more convenient than driving him around the block seven hundred times to get the same effect, so I quickly got over my guilt in not being all for him.
And you should too. There’s nothing wrong with letting baby get some sensory input from a bouncer or a rocker. Babies are humans, and all of us humans have different sensory regulation needs and modulations. Our brains process sensory data differently, and babies have pretty immature systems. Some babies aren’t really sensitive to the stimulation that comes from sounds, tastes, touches, smells or what they can see, while others do and even crave it and seek it out. That’s why some babies can’t get enough of that light-up noisy toy you can’t stand and others want to be just as far away from it as you do.
So rockers and bouncers can fill valuable sensory needs in our little ones.
What should you be looking for in a rocker or bouncer for your baby? Several things, really. Obviously, you want the rocking/swaying/bouncing to be adjustable and not to overwhelm your little one. Ever seen one of those baby swings that you think is going to fling the baby out across the room? Yeah, no. That’s NOT what you want. You want safe, cozy, clean and green and we’ve asked all our mamas for the scoop and then tried them out. Check out what we think are the best rockers and bouncers you’ll find.
Things to Remember When Picking Out the Best Bouncers for Your Little One
- Adjustable Controls- Every child is different, and they might like different movements. Some babies like to be bounced fast and furious, and some like slow and methodical. Choose a bouncer that can either be adjusted in speed or sway, or one that you can move manually so as to create the best environment to soothe and/or stimulate your baby.
- Music/White Noise- Rockers are a great way to help a baby soothe and sleep, as long as they are supervised. White noise is a soothing sound that helps your baby fall asleep and keeps out distracting background noises. It is similar to the sound in the womb, so it is often comforting to babies. A bouncer or rocker with an attached white noise, MP3 attachment, or music options like lullabies is wonderful to help soothe your little one. And although we may want to snuggle our babies for every nap, sometimes it’s just not possible. A rocker with a white noise attachment gives them a place to sleep and rest comfortably and safely.
- Black and white or simply mobile toys- If your baby loves that extra stimulation, a bouncer with some simple mobile toys is great. For newborns, simple black and white patterned toys are best as that is what helps develop their eyesight as they continue to grow. As they get older, you can opt for simply mobile toys that help develop your child’s hand and eye coordination as they learn to reach and grasp for toys.
- Safety Harness- If you an opt for a bouncer, it is important to ensure it has a safety harness. Either a lap belt or a five-point harness will do, but as your baby gets bigger and in more control of their movements, you are going to want a safety harness to ensure that they don’t roll or bounce their way off the seat.
- Machine Washable- Many moms might argue that this is the most important feature of a bouncer or rocker! Accidents, spit-up, and poop explosions happen, and you’re going to want to be able to easily remove, wash, and replace the cover to your bouncer or rocker without much fuss. No one should need a degree in space rockets or architectural design to replace a cover on a rocker or bouncer once it’s been washed, it is key to ensure that the cover is not only easy to remove but that it’s also easy to put back on.
- Cozy- Make sure that the rocker or bouncer you choose for your little one is cozy and soft. There is no use getting a seat that is hard or has bumpy parts poking through. Your baby recently exited the most comfortable spot (your womb) and sitting in a hard, stiff seat or laying on a barely-there mattress won’t take care of their 4th trimester needs. Make sure the bouncer or rocker you choose is comfy, cozy, and soft. Minky material or organic cotton are always first-runner ups for babies (after being held by mama, of course). A bouncer or rocker that envelopes your baby or creates a snug little cocoon will be favorited by your little one.
Are Bouncers and Rockers Safe to Use with Your Baby?
Rockers and bouncers are perfectly safe to use with your little ones. Supervision is required for the use of any device your baby is using independently from you, and it is important to follow the guidelines set forth by the product brand. In many cases, you should keep the following things in mind:
- Always keep your baby within your eyesight when using a bouncer. The first time they decide to roll over might be when they are in there!
- Follow safe sleeping rules when using a rocker such as laying them on their back, swaddling if appropriate, and not adding extra blankets, pillows, or toys in there with them.
- Do not place a bouncer or rocker on an elevated surface unless it comes with a stand that heightens the device.
- Do not place any additional toys, blankets, or pillows in the rocker or bouncer with your baby, especially if it sways mechanically. Blankets can get stuck in the bouncer or rocker, and toys and pillows put the baby at risk for suffocation.
Do not feel guilty about placing your baby in a bouncer or rocker. External stimulation and some independent play are important for your baby, and it is good for moms to take a break for a few minutes. If there are other children in the house, use this time that the baby is otherwise preoccupied to do something special with them like read a book or play a game to maintain good sibling relationships.
We love how the folks at Tiny Love make their products with the developing baby’s brain as their guiding focus. They know that baby’s nervous systems and sensory regulation develop at different rates and require different inputs, and they’ve created a bouncer that has three reclining positions to accompany their soothing rocking. You can adjust the bouncer as you need, and it’s super lightweight and portable–many mamas say they have one on each floor of their home. Because it’s designed to be (and tested for) a napper, it will accommodate weight from newborn to 40 pounds, and it meets all JPMA and ASTM as well as federal safety standards. Tiny Love is an award-winning company that creates products for baby’s development, and they do so in a big way!
It’s no secret that Baby Bjorn knows babies, and their Bouncer Balance Soft continues to show this to be true. The Bouncer Balance Soft doesn’t use any batteries or anything but your baby to make it rock–but that’s the whole purpose for development. Babies learn cause and effect and naturally develop motor skills, and you can of course rock or bounce babies in it yourself until they’re able to bounce it on their own. It’s JPMA Certified and is safe and ergonomic, giving baby’s neck and back the proper support. The bouncer has four positions it can be set to allowing for resting, playing or even feeding. We love that the bouncer turns into a comfy organic chair for your little one that he can use until he’s two-years-old, and best? It’s easy to machine wash it!
So we can’t lie; the Rockit Rocker is like gold to the parent who is typically plopping their little one in the car so they can get to sleep. More, if you’re the mama whose little one falls asleep in a car seat or stroller, but wakes the second the movement stops? This is your new best friend! A trio of dads decided that it would be a must-have accessory for those on the go, and they’ve made it easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy to give your baby sensory input while you’re out and about.
Research suggests the vibration level Rockit has worked hard to create closely matches that of a hand rocking the seat or pushing the stroller, and very gently lets baby feel like she’s still in her stroller or seat with just a push of the button. And the speeds are variable so that you can find just the right setting for your little one’s sweet, soothing dreams.
The Snuggle Me Sensory Lounger does just that–snuggles your little one in a comfy cozy space that’s covered with 100% organic cotton, so it’s buttery soft on baby’s skin. In fact that cozy snuggle is patent-pending and gives baby sensory regulation similar to swaddling or weighted blankets. It’s lightweight because of its materials and while it’s not technically a bouncer or a rocker, it definitely feeds your baby’s sensory diet, and that can help calm and soothe them just as a bouncer or rocker would. It’s award-winning and that’s because mamas tell us babies love it.
Oh, how we love the sleek and serene look of this gorgeous, foldable rocker from GreenFrog. Its lightweight aluminum frame is sturdy and durable, and makes it a perfect travel rocker as well. It’s ideal for bedside or anywhere you want baby near as she’s resting, and the rockers glide on inbuilt wheels. It’s like a perfect little Moses Basket that will give baby sensory input, and it’s safely made with a low height and mesh side windows for those who’d like to a convenient, non-bulky rocker bedside for babe.
You know we’re all about eco-friendly, and the sleek and minimalist design of the Bloom Coco floats our boat. It’s elegant and modern, and most likely complements the furniture in whatever room you want it in. It has comfy seat pads of organic cotton with a five-point harness for safety, is free of lead, BPA, PVC, formaldehyde, phthalates and flame-retardant materials. Mamas tell us that what their babies love most is the smooth bounce/rock that the Bloom Coco gives, and as it’s another self-rocker, it’s great for baby’s fine motor and core development.
You can’t help but love Stokke’s eco-friendly products–sleekly designed to be good for baby and the earth. That’s why we dig the Steps Bouncer. It’s designed to be uber comfy for your little one with its soft, supportive seat and the cradling motion of the bouncer helps baby feel like mama’s still holding him even when she simply can’t. And, it works on motor skills and core balance as littles grow bigger because they’ll learn how to bounce more based on their own muscular movements. It can be used on the floor as a comfy cat-nap place too, or mounted on the Stokke Steps Chair we love so much. It comes with a newborn insert that will ensure baby’s safety from birth to about four months and has a 5-point-harness for extra protection.
When it comes to MacDaddies of bouncers and rockers, MamaRoos are always at the top of the list. Why? Because the folks at 4Moms believe in better (and work really hard to give it to lots of mamas) and they know that clunky bouncers and swings don’t mimic mamas and daddies the best way. Mamas and daddies don’t vibrate or swing; they bounce gently and sway, and that’s what the MamaRoo does with its five motions and speeds. The material is plush and comfy and it uses an AC adaptor–no worrying about batteries continually needing to be replaced.
It has an adjustable seat incline and mamas can use the Bluetooth features to control the sound and motion. The Mamaroo has four built-in sounds but also has an MP3 plug-in feature so you can play your little one’s playlist for soothing comfort. (Pro Mama Tip: Keep that playlist because you may be surprised to know your eight-year-old will very vividly remember the music and want to keep listening long after the MamaRoo days!).
When we asked mamas about their favorite and best bouncers and rockers, the MamaRoo was always mentioned because so many littles find peace and calm in it–and that translates to peace and calm for moms!
Although a mother’s instinct is to hold, cuddle, and carry their baby, sometimes (especially moms of more than one baby) just can’t hold their baby constantly. A safe, cozy, comfortable, and green rocker or bouncer is a great alternative to holding your baby when you need your hands free for a few minutes. A bouncer allows your child to get the stimulation they need to keep them entertained and continue their cognitive development with the visual stimulation of the mobile, the auditory stimulation of music, and the physical stimulation of the bouncing or swaying. A rocker is a wonderful tool to help your baby get the rest they need. The rocking and swaying can be soothing to your little one (think of how they gently bounced and swayed in your belly). Both are great alternative options to laying your babe on the hard floor while you chase your toddler or do another task hands-free for a few minutes.
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